07 September 2020

Tim Henman says Djokovic had to be disqualified from US Open after hitting line judge with ball

Former British No 1 Tim Henman believes there was no choice but to disqualify Novak Djokovic from the US Open after hitting a line judge with a tennis ball.

The Serbian, who was facing Pablo Carreno Busta in the fourth round of the New York-based tournament, accidentally struck the woman after hitting a ball away, and after lengthy discussions was defaulted from the match.

The Serbian accepted being struck from the tournament after the incident (SIPA USA/PA Images)

Henman, who was disqualified from Wimbledon 25 years ago for a similar incident, feels it was the right thing for the tournament officials to do.

Speaking to Amazon Prime, he said: "He was not aiming for the official, but you're responsible for your actions. There was no other consequence.

"We saw a couple of points earlier when he whacked the ball into the advertising hoardings. He was frustrated.

"It's amazing for me to talk about this. It was a moment of frustration for me too - I hit the ball away when I wasn't looking and I hit a ball girl."

Henman hit a ball girl during a doubles match at the All England Club in 1995 and subsequently had to concede the match.

Djokovic, 33, was going for a fourth US Open title and 18th Grand Slam singles crown, a triumph which would have put him one behind Rafa Nadal and two behind Roger Federer.

The World No 1’s exit means the US Open will be the first men’s singles Slam to be won by a player outside of Djokovic, Nadal or Federer since 2016 when Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka took the title in New York.

Busta will now face 12th seed Denis Shapovalov in the quarter-finals.

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